US10067822B2 - Combined slice objects in alternate memory locations - Google Patents

Combined slice objects in alternate memory locations Download PDF

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US10067822B2
US10067822B2 US15/276,270 US201615276270A US10067822B2 US 10067822 B2 US10067822 B2 US 10067822B2 US 201615276270 A US201615276270 A US 201615276270A US 10067822 B2 US10067822 B2 US 10067822B2
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encoded data
data slices
storage units
storage
set
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Andrew D. Baptist
Greg R. Dhuse
Ravi V. Khadiwala
Wesley B. Leggette
James L. Lester
Jason K. Resch
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International Business Machines Corp
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F11/00Error detection; Error correction; Monitoring
    • G06F11/07Responding to the occurrence of a fault, e.g. fault tolerance
    • G06F11/08Error detection or correction by redundancy in data representation, e.g. by using checking codes
    • G06F11/10Adding special bits or symbols to the coded information, e.g. parity check, casting out 9's or 11's
    • G06F11/1008Adding special bits or symbols to the coded information, e.g. parity check, casting out 9's or 11's in individual solid state devices
    • G06F11/1044Adding special bits or symbols to the coded information, e.g. parity check, casting out 9's or 11's in individual solid state devices with specific ECC/EDC distribution
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F11/00Error detection; Error correction; Monitoring
    • G06F11/07Responding to the occurrence of a fault, e.g. fault tolerance
    • G06F11/08Error detection or correction by redundancy in data representation, e.g. by using checking codes
    • G06F11/10Adding special bits or symbols to the coded information, e.g. parity check, casting out 9's or 11's
    • G06F11/1076Parity data used in redundant arrays of independent storages, e.g. in RAID systems
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/10Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications in which an application is distributed across nodes in the network
    • H04L67/1097Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications in which an application is distributed across nodes in the network for distributed storage of data in a network, e.g. network file system [NFS], transport mechanisms for storage area networks [SAN] or network attached storage [NAS]

Abstract

A method for execution by a computing device of a dispersed storage network (DSN), the method beings by obtaining a plurality of sets of encoded data slices for storage in the DSN. The method continues by determining whether to store two or more encoded data slices of the plurality of sets of encoded data slices in alternative memory. When determined to store the two or more encoded data slices in the alternative memory, the method continues by determining a combining protocol regarding the two or more encoded data slices. The method continues by combining, in accordance with the combining protocol, the two or more encoded data slices into at least one combined slice object (CSO) and sending the at least one CSO to the alternative memory and sending remaining encoded data slices of the plurality of sets of encoded data slices to a set of storage units of the DSN.

Description

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

INCORPORATION-BY-REFERENCE OF MATERIAL SUBMITTED ON A COMPACT DISC

Not applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Technical Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to computer networks and more particularly to dispersing error encoded data.

Description of Related Art

Computing devices are known to communicate data, process data, and/or store data. Such computing devices range from wireless smart phones, laptops, tablets, personal computers (PC), work stations, and video game devices, to data centers that support millions of web searches, stock trades, or on-line purchases every day. In general, a computing device includes a central processing unit (CPU), a memory system, user input/output interfaces, peripheral device interfaces, and an interconnecting bus structure.

As is further known, a computer may effectively extend its CPU by using “cloud computing” to perform one or more computing functions (e.g., a service, an application, an algorithm, an arithmetic logic function, etc.) on behalf of the computer. Further, for large services, applications, and/or functions, cloud computing may be performed by multiple cloud computing resources in a distributed manner to improve the response time for completion of the service, application, and/or function. For example, Hadoop is an open source software framework that supports distributed applications enabling application execution by thousands of computers.

In addition to cloud computing, a computer may use “cloud storage” as part of its memory system. As is known, cloud storage enables a user, via its computer, to store files, applications, etc. on an Internet storage system. The Internet storage system may include a RAID (redundant array of independent disks) system and/or a dispersed storage system that uses an error correction scheme to encode data for storage.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)

FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a dispersed or distributed storage network (DSN) in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a computing core in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a schematic block diagram of an example of dispersed storage error encoding of data in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a schematic block diagram of a generic example of an error encoding function in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a schematic block diagram of a specific example of an error encoding function in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a schematic block diagram of an example of a slice name of an encoded data slice (EDS) in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a schematic block diagram of an example of dispersed storage error decoding of data in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a schematic block diagram of a generic example of an error decoding function in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 9A is a schematic block diagram of an example of an example of storing pluralities of sets of slices in a set of storage units in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 9B is a schematic block diagram of an example of storing pluralities of sets of slices in a set of storage units that further includes alternative memories in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 9C is a schematic block diagram of another example of storing pluralities of sets of encoded data slices in a set of storage units and further storing combined objects in one or more alternative memories in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 9D is a schematic block diagram of an example of combining two or more encoded data slices in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a logic diagram of an example of a method of combining two or more encoded data slices in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 11 is a logic diagram of an example of a method of a read request for the two or more encoded data slices in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a dispersed, or distributed, storage network (DSN) 10 that includes a plurality of computing devices 12-16, a managing unit 18, an integrity processing unit 20, and a DSN memory 22. The components of the DSN 10 are coupled to a network 24, which may include one or more wireless and/or wire lined communication systems; one or more non-public intranet systems and/or public internet systems; and/or one or more local area networks (LAN) and/or wide area networks (WAN).

The DSN memory 22 includes a plurality of storage units 36 that may be located at geographically different sites (e.g., one in Chicago, one in Milwaukee, etc.), at a common site, or a combination thereof. For example, if the DSN memory 22 includes eight storage units 36, each storage unit is located at a different site. As another example, if the DSN memory 22 includes eight storage units 36, all eight storage units are located at the same site. As yet another example, if the DSN memory 22 includes eight storage units 36, a first pair of storage units are at a first common site, a second pair of storage units are at a second common site, a third pair of storage units are at a third common site, and a fourth pair of storage units are at a fourth common site. Note that a DSN memory 22 may include more or less than eight storage units 36. Further note that each storage unit 36 includes a computing core (as shown in FIG. 2, or components thereof) and a plurality of memory devices for storing dispersed error encoded data.

Each of the computing devices 12-16, the managing unit 18, and the integrity processing unit 20 include a computing core 26, which includes network interfaces 30-33. Computing devices 12-16 may each be a portable computing device and/or a fixed computing device. A portable computing device may be a social networking device, a gaming device, a cell phone, a smart phone, a digital assistant, a digital music player, a digital video player, a laptop computer, a handheld computer, a tablet, a video game controller, and/or any other portable device that includes a computing core. A fixed computing device may be a computer (PC), a computer server, a cable set-top box, a satellite receiver, a television set, a printer, a fax machine, home entertainment equipment, a video game console, and/or any type of home or office computing equipment. Note that each of the managing unit 18 and the integrity processing unit 20 may be separate computing devices, may be a common computing device, and/or may be integrated into one or more of the computing devices 12-16 and/or into one or more of the storage units 36.

Each interface 30, 32, and 33 includes software and hardware to support one or more communication links via the network 24 indirectly and/or directly. For example, interface 30 supports a communication link (e.g., wired, wireless, direct, via a LAN, via the network 24, etc.) between computing devices 14 and 16. As another example, interface 32 supports communication links (e.g., a wired connection, a wireless connection, a LAN connection, and/or any other type of connection to/from the network 24) between computing devices 12 & 16 and the DSN memory 22. As yet another example, interface 33 supports a communication link for each of the managing unit 18 and the integrity processing unit 20 to the network 24.

Computing devices 12 and 16 include a dispersed storage (DS) client module 34, which enables the computing device to dispersed storage error encode and decode data as subsequently described with reference to one or more of FIGS. 3-8. In this example embodiment, computing device 16 functions as a dispersed storage processing agent for computing device 14. In this role, computing device 16 dispersed storage error encodes and decodes data on behalf of computing device 14. With the use of dispersed storage error encoding and decoding, the DSN 10 is tolerant of a significant number of storage unit failures (the number of failures is based on parameters of the dispersed storage error encoding function) without loss of data and without the need for a redundant or backup copies of the data. Further, the DSN 10 stores data for an indefinite period of time without data loss and in a secure manner (e.g., the system is very resistant to unauthorized attempts at accessing the data).

In operation, the managing unit 18 performs DS management services. For example, the managing unit 18 establishes distributed data storage parameters (e.g., vault creation, distributed storage parameters, security parameters, billing information, user profile information, etc.) for computing devices 12-14 individually or as part of a group of user devices. As a specific example, the managing unit 18 coordinates creation of a vault (e.g., a virtual memory block associated with a portion of an overall namespace of the DSN) within the DSN memory 22 for a user device, a group of devices, or for public access and establishes per vault dispersed storage (DS) error encoding parameters for a vault. The managing unit 18 facilitates storage of DS error encoding parameters for each vault by updating registry information of the DSN 10, where the registry information may be stored in the DSN memory 22, a computing device 12-16, the managing unit 18, and/or the integrity processing unit 20.

The DSN managing unit 18 creates and stores user profile information (e.g., an access control list (ACL)) in local memory and/or within memory of the DSN memory 22. The user profile information includes authentication information, permissions, and/or the security parameters. The security parameters may include encryption/decryption scheme, one or more encryption keys, key generation scheme, and/or data encoding/decoding scheme.

The DSN managing unit 18 creates billing information for a particular user, a user group, a vault access, public vault access, etc. For instance, the DSN managing unit 18 tracks the number of times a user accesses a non-public vault and/or public vaults, which can be used to generate a per-access billing information. In another instance, the DSN managing unit 18 tracks the amount of data stored and/or retrieved by a user device and/or a user group, which can be used to generate a per-data-amount billing information.

As another example, the managing unit 18 performs network operations, network administration, and/or network maintenance. Network operations includes authenticating user data allocation requests (e.g., read and/or write requests), managing creation of vaults, establishing authentication credentials for user devices, adding/deleting components (e.g., user devices, storage units, and/or computing devices with a DS client module 34) to/from the DSN 10, and/or establishing authentication credentials for the storage units 36. Network administration includes monitoring devices and/or units for failures, maintaining vault information, determining device and/or unit activation status, determining device and/or unit loading, and/or determining any other system level operation that affects the performance level of the DSN 10. Network maintenance includes facilitating replacing, upgrading, repairing, and/or expanding a device and/or unit of the DSN 10.

The integrity processing unit 20 performs rebuilding of ‘bad’ or missing encoded data slices. At a high level, the integrity processing unit 20 performs rebuilding by periodically attempting to retrieve/list encoded data slices, and/or slice names of the encoded data slices, from the DSN memory 22. For retrieved encoded slices, they are checked for errors due to data corruption, outdated version, etc. If a slice includes an error, it is flagged as a ‘bad’ slice. For encoded data slices that were not received and/or not listed, they are flagged as missing slices. Bad and/or missing slices are subsequently rebuilt using other retrieved encoded data slices that are deemed to be good slices to produce rebuilt slices. The rebuilt slices are stored in the DSN memory 22.

FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a computing core 26 that includes a processing module 50, a memory controller 52, main memory 54, a video graphics processing unit 55, an input/output (TO) controller 56, a peripheral component interconnect (PCI) interface 58, an IO interface module 60, at least one IO device interface module 62, a read only memory (ROM) basic input output system (BIOS) 64, and one or more memory interface modules. The one or more memory interface module(s) includes one or more of a universal serial bus (USB) interface module 66, a host bus adapter (HBA) interface module 68, a network interface module 70, a flash interface module 72, a hard drive interface module 74, and a DSN interface module 76.

The DSN interface module 76 functions to mimic a conventional operating system (OS) file system interface (e.g., network file system (NFS), flash file system (FFS), disk file system (DFS), file transfer protocol (FTP), web-based distributed authoring and versioning (WebDAV), etc.) and/or a block memory interface (e.g., small computer system interface (SCSI), internet small computer system interface (iSCSI), etc.). The DSN interface module 76 and/or the network interface module 70 may function as one or more of the interface 30-33 of FIG. 1. Note that the IO device interface module 62 and/or the memory interface modules 66-76 may be collectively or individually referred to as IO ports.

FIG. 3 is a schematic block diagram of an example of dispersed storage error encoding of data. When a computing device 12 or 16 has data to store it disperse storage error encodes the data in accordance with a dispersed storage error encoding process based on dispersed storage error encoding parameters. The dispersed storage error encoding parameters include an encoding function (e.g., information dispersal algorithm, Reed-Solomon, Cauchy Reed-Solomon, systematic encoding, non-systematic encoding, on-line codes, etc.), a data segmenting protocol (e.g., data segment size, fixed, variable, etc.), and per data segment encoding values. The per data segment encoding values include a total, or pillar width, number (T) of encoded data slices per encoding of a data segment i.e., in a set of encoded data slices); a decode threshold number (D) of encoded data slices of a set of encoded data slices that are needed to recover the data segment; a read threshold number (R) of encoded data slices to indicate a number of encoded data slices per set to be read from storage for decoding of the data segment; and/or a write threshold number (W) to indicate a number of encoded data slices per set that must be accurately stored before the encoded data segment is deemed to have been properly stored. The dispersed storage error encoding parameters may further include slicing information (e.g., the number of encoded data slices that will be created for each data segment) and/or slice security information (e.g., per encoded data slice encryption, compression, integrity checksum, etc.).

In the present example, Cauchy Reed-Solomon has been selected as the encoding function (a generic example is shown in FIG. 4 and a specific example is shown in FIG. 5); the data segmenting protocol is to divide the data object into fixed sized data segments; and the per data segment encoding values include: a pillar width of 5, a decode threshold of 3, a read threshold of 4, and a write threshold of 4. In accordance with the data segmenting protocol, the computing device 12 or 16 divides the data (e.g., a file (e.g., text, video, audio, etc.), a data object, or other data arrangement) into a plurality of fixed sized data segments (e.g., 1 through Y of a fixed size in range of Kilo-bytes to Tera-bytes or more). The number of data segments created is dependent of the size of the data and the data segmenting protocol.

The computing device 12 or 16 then disperse storage error encodes a data segment using the selected encoding function (e.g., Cauchy Reed-Solomon) to produce a set of encoded data slices. FIG. 4 illustrates a generic Cauchy Reed-Solomon encoding function, which includes an encoding matrix (EM), a data matrix (DM), and a coded matrix (CM). The size of the encoding matrix (EM) is dependent on the pillar width number (T) and the decode threshold number (D) of selected per data segment encoding values. To produce the data matrix (DM), the data segment is divided into a plurality of data blocks and the data blocks are arranged into D number of rows with Z data blocks per row. Note that Z is a function of the number of data blocks created from the data segment and the decode threshold number (D). The coded matrix is produced by matrix multiplying the data matrix by the encoding matrix.

FIG. 5 illustrates a specific example of Cauchy Reed-Solomon encoding with a pillar number (T) of five and decode threshold number of three. In this example, a first data segment is divided into twelve data blocks (D1-D12). The coded matrix includes five rows of coded data blocks, where the first row of X11-X14 corresponds to a first encoded data slice (EDS 1_1), the second row of X21-X24 corresponds to a second encoded data slice (EDS 2_1), the third row of X31-X34 corresponds to a third encoded data slice (EDS 3_1), the fourth row of X41-X44 corresponds to a fourth encoded data slice (EDS 4_1), and the fifth row of X51-X54 corresponds to a fifth encoded data slice (EDS 5_1). Note that the second number of the EDS designation corresponds to the data segment number.

Returning to the discussion of FIG. 3, the computing device also creates a slice name (SN) for each encoded data slice (EDS) in the set of encoded data slices. A typical format for a slice name 78 is shown in FIG. 6. As shown, the slice name (SN) 78 includes a pillar number of the encoded data slice (e.g., one of 1-T), a data segment number (e.g., one of 1-Y), a vault identifier (ID), a data object identifier (ID), and may further include revision level information of the encoded data slices. The slice name functions as, at least part of, a DSN address for the encoded data slice for storage and retrieval from the DSN memory 22.

As a result of encoding, the computing device 12 or 16 produces a plurality of sets of encoded data slices, which are provided with their respective slice names to the storage units (SUs) for storage. As shown, the first set of encoded data slices includes EDS 1_1 through EDS 5_1 and the first set of slice names includes SN 1_1 through SN 5_1 and the last set of encoded data slices includes EDS 1_Y through EDS 5_Y and the last set of slice names includes SN 1_Y through SN 5_Y.

FIG. 7 is a schematic block diagram of an example of dispersed storage error decoding of a data object that was dispersed storage error encoded and stored in the example of FIG. 4. In this example, the computing device 12 or 16 retrieves from the storage units at least the decode threshold number of encoded data slices per data segment. As a specific example, the computing device retrieves a read threshold number of encoded data slices.

To recover a data segment from a decode threshold number of encoded data slices, the computing device uses a decoding function as shown in FIG. 8. As shown, the decoding function is essentially an inverse of the encoding function of FIG. 4. The coded matrix includes a decode threshold number of rows (e.g., three in this example) and the decoding matrix in an inversion of the encoding matrix that includes the corresponding rows of the coded matrix. For example, if the coded matrix includes rows 1, 2, and 4, the encoding matrix is reduced to rows 1, 2, and 4, and then inverted to produce the decoding matrix.

FIG. 9A is a schematic block diagram of an example of storing pluralities of sets of slices in a set of storage units (SU1-SU5). Each plurality of sets of encoded data slices (EDSs) corresponds to the encoding of a data object, a portion of a data object, or multiple data objects, where a data object is one or more of a file, text, data, digital information, etc. For example, the highlighted plurality of encoded data slices corresponds to a data object having a data identifier of “a1”.

Each encoded data slice of each set of encoded data slices is uniquely identified by its slice name, which is also used as at least part of a logical DSN address for storing the encoded data slice. As shown, a set of EDSs includes EDS 1_1_1_a1 through EDS 5_1_1_a1. The EDS number includes pillar number, data segment number, vault ID, and data object ID. Thus, for EDS 1_1_1_a1, it is the first EDS of a first data segment of data object “a1” and is to be stored, or is stored, in vault 1. Note that vaults are logical memory containers supported by the storage units of the DSN. A vault may be allocated to store data for one or more user computing devices.

As is further shown, another plurality of sets of encoded data slices are stored in vault 2 for data object “b1”. There are Y sets of EDSs, where Y corresponds to the number of data segments created by segmenting the data object. The last set of EDSs of data object “b1” includes EDS 1_Y_2_b1 through EDS 5_Y_2_b1. Thus, for EDS 1_Y_2_b1, it is the first EDS of the last data segment “Y” of data object “b1” and is to be stored, or is stored, in vault 2.

FIG. 9B is a schematic block diagram of an example of storing pluralities of sets of slices in a set of storage units that further includes alternative memories (e.g., 1 and 2). With respect to the three pluralities of sets of encoded data slices (EDSs) (e.g., data object a1, a2, and b1), a storage protocol (e.g., distributed agreement protocol) approximately equally distributes the sets of encoded data slices throughout the DSN memory (e.g., among the various storage units).

The first column corresponds to storage units having a designation of SU #1 in their respective storage pool or set of storage units and stores encoded data slices having a pillar number of 1. The second column corresponds to storage units having a designation of SU #2 in their respective storage pool or set of storage units and stores encoded data slices having a pillar number of 2, and so on.

FIG. 9C a schematic block diagram of an example of storing pluralities of sets of encoded data slices in a set of storage units and further storing combined slice objects in one or more alternative memories. As shown, certain (e.g., faded slices) encoded data slices may be combined to form a combined slice object (CSO) that is then stored in alternative memory. For example, encoded data slice EDS 1_1_1_a1 and encoded data slice EDS 5_1_1_a1 may be combined to form a combined slice object (e.g., combined slice object #1) that is stored in an alternative memory (e.g., alternative memory #1). As another example, encoded data slices EDS 5_1_1_a1 and EDS 5_2_1_a1 may be combined to form another combined slice object (e.g., combined slice object #2) that is stored in alternative memory (e.g., alternative memory #2). As yet another example, encoded data slices EDS 1_2_2_b1, EDS 2_2_2_b1, EDS 1_3_1_a2 and EDS 2_3_1_a2 may be combined to form a combined slice object #4 and stored in the alternative memory #2. Note the combining may occur before or after the encoded data slices are sent to the storage units for storage.

Further note each CSO may be copied and stored in the same alternative memory or a different alternative memory. For example, EDS 1_2_1_a2 and EDS 2_2_1_a2 is combined to form CSO #3. CSO #3 is then copied and stored in both alternative memory #1 and another alternative memory. As another example, EDS 1_2_1_a2 and EDS 2_2_1_a2 is combined to form CSO #3. CSO #3 is then copied and both stored in alternative memory #1 so that there are two instances of CSO #3 in alternative memory #1.

FIG. 9D is a schematic block diagram of examples of combining two or more encoded data slices and storing the two or more encoded data slices in a set of storage units 36 (SU #1, SU #2) and alternative memory 37 (AM #1-4). As shown, a combined slice object (CSO) (e.g., CSO 5&6_3) may be generated by combining two encoded data slices that include a common segment number (e.g., EDS 5_3, EDS 6_3). A combined slice object (e.g., CSO 5_1&2) may also be generated by combining two encoded data slices that include a common pillar number (e.g., EDS 5_1, EDS 5_2). Further, a combined slice object (e.g., CSO 3_1-2&4_1) may also be generated by combining a subset of segment numbers (e.g., EDS 3_1, EDS 3_2) and a subset of pillar numbers (e.g., EDS 3_1, EDS 4_1). As another example, a combined slice object (e.g., CSO 6&7) may also be generated by combining the subset of segment numbers (e.g., EDS 6_1-6_Y, EDS 7_1-7_Y) and the subset of pillar numbers (e.g., EDS 6_1-6_Y, EDS 7_1-7_Y).

As shown, a set of storage units 36 (SU #1-2) and a set of alternative memory 37 (AM #1-4) form an expanded set of storage units that effectively store a plurality of sets of encoded data slices EDS 1_1-EDS 8_1 through EDS 1_Y-EDS 8_Y. For example, the expanded set of storage units store a combination of encoded data slices and combined slice objects that effectively include encoded data slices EDS 1_1-EDS 8_1 through EDS 1_Y-EDS 8_Y, as SU #1 stores encoded data slices EDS 1_1-EDS 1_Y, SU #2 stores encoded data slices EDS 2_1-EDS 2_Y, AM #1 effectively stores encoded data slices EDS 3_1-3_Y and EDS 4_1-4_Y (as CSO 3 and CSO 4), AM #2 effectively stores encoded data slices EDS 5_1-5_Y and EDS 6_1-6_Y (as CSO 5_1&2, CSO 5&6_3, EDS 6_1-EDS 6_2, EDS 5_4-EDS 5_Y and CSO 6_4-Y), AM #3 effectively stores encoded data slices EDS 6_1-6_Y and EDS 7_1-7_Y (as CSO 6&7) and AM#4 stores encoded data slices EDS 8_1-8_Y. Note the same CSO may be stored in one or more alternative memories. For example, CSO 6_4-Y could be stored in one or both of AM #2 or AM #3. Further note two different CSOs may include one or more common encoded data slices. For example, CSO 6&7 and CSO 6_4-Y both include encoded data slices EDS 6_4-EDS 6_Y. Still further note, the expanded set of storage units does not have to store more than one unique encoded data slice in the combination of encoded data slices and combined slice objects. For example, no encoded data slice that is included in a combined slice object is part of another CSO or stored in another storage unit or alternative memory.

Using this hybrid storage system of encoded data slices and combined slice objects, fewer data access requests may be performed leading to higher performance (e.g., throughput) of the system. For example, one write request may be sent to AM #3 to store CSO 6&7 instead of sending a plurality of write requests to two different storage units (e.g., write requests to a sixth storage unit for EDS 6_1-6_Y and write requests to a seventh storage unit for EDS 7_1-7_Y). As another example, two read requests may be sent to AM #1 for CSO 3 and CSO 4 instead of sending a plurality of read requests to two different storage units (e.g., read requests to a third storage unit for EDS 3_1-EDS 3_Y and read requests to a fourth storage unit for EDS 4_1-EDS 4_Y).

Note if the read/write threshold is less than or equal to ½*pillar width number, then two read/write requests may be performed in parallel. For example, and assuming a read/write threshold of 4 and a pillar width number of 8, a first read request is sent to storage unit SU #1, and alternative memory AM #1 and AM #4 (for the read threshold slices EDS 1_1-EDS 1_Y, CSO 3, CSO 4, and EDS 8_1-EDS 8_Y), substantially concurrently with sending a second read request to SU #2, AM #2, and AM #3. As such, each of the first and second read requests retrieve a decode threshold number of encoded data slices.

FIG. 10 is a logic diagram of an example of a method of combining two or more encoded data slices. The method begins at step 100, where the computing device obtains (e.g., receives, generates, etc.) a plurality of sets of encoded data slices for storage in the DSN. Note a data segment of a data object is dispersed storage error encoded to produce a set of encoded data slices of the plurality of sets of encoded data slices. The method continues at step 102, where the computing device determines whether to store two or more encoded data slices of the plurality of sets of encoded data slices in alternative memory. For example, the computing device determines whether to store the two or more encoded data slices in alternative memory (e.g., a storage unit, a second set of storage units, a managing unit, an integrity processing unit, a local memory device, etc.) by determining performance metrics of the alternative memory and the set of storage units. Note the performance metrics include one or more of cost, latency, bandwidth, available storage, and historical performance.

When the computing device determines not to store the two or more encoded data slices in the alternative memory, the method continues at step 112, where the computing device sends the plurality of sets of encoded data slices to storage units of the DSN. When the computing device determines to store the two or more encoded data slices in the alternative memory, the method continues at step 104, where the computing device determines a combining protocol regarding the two or more encoded data slices. For example, the computing device determines the combining protocol to include one or more of combining encoded data slices based on a common pillar number, a common segment number, a subset of pillar numbers, and a subset of segment numbers.

The method continues at step 106, where the computing device combines, in accordance with the combining protocol, the two or more encoded data slices into at least one combined slice object. The method continues at step 108, where the computing device sends the at least one combined slice object to the alternative memory. Alternatively, the computing device sends the two or more encoded data slices to two or more storage units of the set of storage units for storage. The method continues at step 110, where the computing device sends remaining encoded data slices of the plurality of sets of encoded data slices to a set of storage units of the DSN. Note the set of storage units may include one or more of the alternative memory.

FIG. 11 is a logic diagram of an example of a method of a read request for the two or more encoded data slices. The method begins at step 120, where the computing device receives a read request for one or more sets of encoded data slices of the plurality of sets of encoded data slices that includes the two or more encoded data slices. The method continues at step 122, where the computing device determines a read weighting factor for the alternative memory. For example, the computing device determines whether the read weighting factor is favorable by determining a second read weighting factor for the set of storage units and comparing the read weighting factor with the second read weighting factor, and when the read weighting factor compares favorably to the second read weighting factor, indicating the read weighting factor is favorable.

The method continues at step 124, where the computing device determines whether the read weighting factor is favorable. When the read weighting factor is not favorable, the method continues at step 130, where the computing device retrieves a read threshold number of encoded data slices of the one or more sets of encoded data slices from the read threshold number of storage units of the set of storage units.

When the read weighting factor is favorable, the method continues at step 126, where the computing device retrieves the combined slice object from the alternative memory. The method continues at step 128, where the computing device retrieves one or more subsets of encoded data slices of the one or more sets of encoded data slices from some storage units of the set of storage units. Note the one or more subsets is substantially the read threshold number of encoded data slices minus the relevant encoded data slices of the CSO.

It is noted that terminologies as may be used herein such as bit stream, stream, signal sequence, etc. (or their equivalents) have been used interchangeably to describe digital information whose content corresponds to any of a number of desired types (e.g., data, video, speech, audio, etc. any of which may generally be referred to as ‘data’).

As may be used herein, the terms “substantially” and “approximately” provides an industry-accepted tolerance for its corresponding term and/or relativity between items. Such an industry-accepted tolerance ranges from less than one percent to fifty percent and corresponds to, but is not limited to, component values, integrated circuit process variations, temperature variations, rise and fall times, and/or thermal noise. Such relativity between items ranges from a difference of a few percent to magnitude differences. As may also be used herein, the term(s) “configured to”, “operably coupled to”, “coupled to”, and/or “coupling” includes direct coupling between items and/or indirect coupling between items via an intervening item (e.g., an item includes, but is not limited to, a component, an element, a circuit, and/or a module) where, for an example of indirect coupling, the intervening item does not modify the information of a signal but may adjust its current level, voltage level, and/or power level. As may further be used herein, inferred coupling (i.e., where one element is coupled to another element by inference) includes direct and indirect coupling between two items in the same manner as “coupled to”. As may even further be used herein, the term “configured to”, “operable to”, “coupled to”, or “operably coupled to” indicates that an item includes one or more of power connections, input(s), output(s), etc., to perform, when activated, one or more its corresponding functions and may further include inferred coupling to one or more other items. As may still further be used herein, the term “associated with”, includes direct and/or indirect coupling of separate items and/or one item being embedded within another item.

As may be used herein, the term “compares favorably”, indicates that a comparison between two or more items, signals, etc., provides a desired relationship. For example, when the desired relationship is that signal 1 has a greater magnitude than signal 2, a favorable comparison may be achieved when the magnitude of signal 1 is greater than that of signal 2 or when the magnitude of signal 2 is less than that of signal 1. As may be used herein, the term “compares unfavorably”, indicates that a comparison between two or more items, signals, etc., fails to provide the desired relationship.

As may also be used herein, the terms “processing module”, “processing circuit”, “processor”, and/or “processing unit” may be a single processing device or a plurality of processing devices. Such a processing device may be a microprocessor, micro-controller, digital signal processor, microcomputer, central processing unit, field programmable gate array, programmable logic device, state machine, logic circuitry, analog circuitry, digital circuitry, and/or any device that manipulates signals (analog and/or digital) based on hard coding of the circuitry and/or operational instructions. The processing module, module, processing circuit, and/or processing unit may be, or further include, memory and/or an integrated memory element, which may be a single memory device, a plurality of memory devices, and/or embedded circuitry of another processing module, module, processing circuit, and/or processing unit. Such a memory device may be a read-only memory, random access memory, volatile memory, non-volatile memory, static memory, dynamic memory, flash memory, cache memory, and/or any device that stores digital information. Note that if the processing module, module, processing circuit, and/or processing unit includes more than one processing device, the processing devices may be centrally located (e.g., directly coupled together via a wired and/or wireless bus structure) or may be distributedly located (e.g., cloud computing via indirect coupling via a local area network and/or a wide area network). Further note that if the processing module, module, processing circuit, and/or processing unit implements one or more of its functions via a state machine, analog circuitry, digital circuitry, and/or logic circuitry, the memory and/or memory element storing the corresponding operational instructions may be embedded within, or external to, the circuitry comprising the state machine, analog circuitry, digital circuitry, and/or logic circuitry. Still further note that, the memory element may store, and the processing module, module, processing circuit, and/or processing unit executes, hard coded and/or operational instructions corresponding to at least some of the steps and/or functions illustrated in one or more of the Figures. Such a memory device or memory element can be included in an article of manufacture.

One or more embodiments have been described above with the aid of method steps illustrating the performance of specified functions and relationships thereof. The boundaries and sequence of these functional building blocks and method steps have been arbitrarily defined herein for convenience of description. Alternate boundaries and sequences can be defined so long as the specified functions and relationships are appropriately performed. Any such alternate boundaries or sequences are thus within the scope and spirit of the claims. Further, the boundaries of these functional building blocks have been arbitrarily defined for convenience of description. Alternate boundaries could be defined as long as the certain significant functions are appropriately performed. Similarly, flow diagram blocks may also have been arbitrarily defined herein to illustrate certain significant functionality.

To the extent used, the flow diagram block boundaries and sequence could have been defined otherwise and still perform the certain significant functionality. Such alternate definitions of both functional building blocks and flow diagram blocks and sequences are thus within the scope and spirit of the claims. One of average skill in the art will also recognize that the functional building blocks, and other illustrative blocks, modules and components herein, can be implemented as illustrated or by discrete components, application specific integrated circuits, processors executing appropriate software and the like or any combination thereof.

In addition, a flow diagram may include a “start” and/or “continue” indication. The “start” and “continue” indications reflect that the steps presented can optionally be incorporated in or otherwise used in conjunction with other routines. In this context, “start” indicates the beginning of the first step presented and may be preceded by other activities not specifically shown. Further, the “continue” indication reflects that the steps presented may be performed multiple times and/or may be succeeded by other activities not specifically shown. Further, while a flow diagram indicates a particular ordering of steps, other orderings are likewise possible provided that the principles of causality are maintained.

The one or more embodiments are used herein to illustrate one or more aspects, one or more features, one or more concepts, and/or one or more examples. A physical embodiment of an apparatus, an article of manufacture, a machine, and/or of a process may include one or more of the aspects, features, concepts, examples, etc. described with reference to one or more of the embodiments discussed herein. Further, from figure to figure, the embodiments may incorporate the same or similarly named functions, steps, modules, etc. that may use the same or different reference numbers and, as such, the functions, steps, modules, etc. may be the same or similar functions, steps, modules, etc. or different ones.

Unless specifically stated to the contra, signals to, from, and/or between elements in a figure of any of the figures presented herein may be analog or digital, continuous time or discrete time, and single-ended or differential. For instance, if a signal path is shown as a single-ended path, it also represents a differential signal path. Similarly, if a signal path is shown as a differential path, it also represents a single-ended signal path. While one or more particular architectures are described herein, other architectures can likewise be implemented that use one or more data buses not expressly shown, direct connectivity between elements, and/or indirect coupling between other elements as recognized by one of average skill in the art.

The term “module” is used in the description of one or more of the embodiments. A module implements one or more functions via a device such as a processor or other processing device or other hardware that may include or operate in association with a memory that stores operational instructions. A module may operate independently and/or in conjunction with software and/or firmware. As also used herein, a module may contain one or more sub-modules, each of which may be one or more modules.

As may further be used herein, a computer readable memory includes one or more memory elements. A memory element may be a separate memory device, multiple memory devices, or a set of memory locations within a memory device. Such a memory device may be a read-only memory, random access memory, volatile memory, non-volatile memory, static memory, dynamic memory, flash memory, cache memory, and/or any device that stores digital information. The memory device may be in a form a solid state memory, a hard drive memory, cloud memory, thumb drive, server memory, computing device memory, and/or other physical medium for storing digital information.

While particular combinations of various functions and features of the one or more embodiments have been expressly described herein, other combinations of these features and functions are likewise possible. The present disclosure is not limited by the particular examples disclosed herein and expressly incorporates these other combinations.

Claims (16)

What is claimed is:
1. A method for execution by a computing device of a dispersed storage network (DSN), the method comprises:
obtaining a plurality of sets of encoded data slices for storage in the DSN, wherein a data segment of a data object is dispersed storage error encoded to produce a set of encoded data slices of the plurality of sets of encoded data slices;
determining whether to store two or more encoded data slices of the plurality of sets of encoded data slices in alternative memory;
when determined to store the two or more encoded data slices in the alternative memory, determining a combining protocol regarding the two or more encoded data slices;
combining, in accordance with the combining protocol, the two or more encoded data slices into at least one combined slice object;
sending the at least one combined slice object to the alternative memory; and
sending remaining encoded data slices of the plurality of sets of encoded data slices to a set of storage units of the DSN.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the alternative memory comprises one or more of:
a storage unit;
the set of storage units;
a second set of storage units;
a managing unit;
DSN memory of another DSN;
cloud-based storage service;
an integrity processing unit; and
a local memory device.
3. The method of claim 1 further comprises:
sending the two or more encoded data slices to two or more storage units of the set of storage units for storage therein.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the combining protocol comprises one or more of:
combining encoded data slices of the two or more encoded data slices based on a common pillar number;
combining encoded data slices of the two or more encoded data slices based on a common segment number;
combining encoded data slices of the two or more encoded data slices based on a subset of pillar numbers; and
combining encoded data slices of the two or more encoded data slices based on a subset of segment numbers.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein the determining whether to store the two or more encoded data slices in alternative memory comprises:
determining performance metrics of the alternative memory and the set of storage units, wherein the performance metrics include one or more of:
cost;
latency;
bandwidth;
available storage; and
historical performance.
6. The method of claim 1 further comprises:
receiving a read request that includes one or more sets of encoded data slices of the plurality of sets of encoded data slices that includes the two or more encoded data slices;
determining a read weighting factor for the alternative memory; and
when the read weighting factor is favorable:
retrieving the combined slice object from the alternative memory; and
retrieving one or more subsets of encoded data slices of the one or more sets of encoded
data slices from some storage units of the set of storage units.
7. The method of claim 6 further comprises:
when the read weighting factor is unfavorable:
retrieving a read threshold number of encoded data slices of the one or more sets of encoded data slices from the read threshold number of storage units of the set of storage units.
8. The method of claim 6 further comprises:
determining a second read weighting factor for the set of storage units;
comparing the read weighting factor with the second read weighting factor; and
when the read weighting factor compares favorably to the second read weighting factor, indicating the read weighting factor is favorable.
9. A computing device:
an interface;
memory; and
a processing module operably coupled to the interface and memory, wherein the processing module is operable to:
obtain a plurality of sets of encoded data slices for storage in a dispersed storage network (DSN), wherein a data segment of a data object is dispersed storage error encoded to produce a set of encoded data slices of the plurality of sets of encoded data slices;
determine whether to store two or more encoded data slices of the plurality of sets of encoded data slices in alternative memory;
when determined to store the two or more encoded data slices in the alternative memory, determine a combining protocol regarding the two or more encoded data slices;
combine, in accordance with the combining protocol, the two or more encoded data slices into at least one combined slice object;
send, via the interface, the at least one combined slice object to the alternative memory; and
send, via the interface, remaining encoded data slices of the plurality of sets of encoded data slices to a set of storage units of the DSN.
10. The computing device of claim 9, wherein the alternative memory comprises one or more of:
a storage unit;
the set of storage units;
a second set of storage units;
a managing unit;
DSN memory of another DSN;
cloud-based storage service;
an integrity processing unit; and
a local memory device.
11. The computing device of claim 9, wherein the processing module is further operable to:
send, via the interface, the two or more encoded data slices to two or more storage units of the set of storage units for storage therein.
12. The computing device of claim 9, wherein the processing module is further operable to perform the combining protocol by one or more of:
combining encoded data slices of the two or more encoded data slices based on a common pillar number;
combining encoded data slices of the two or more encoded data slices based on a common segment number;
combining encoded data slices of the two or more encoded data slices based on a subset of pillar numbers; and
combining encoded data slices of the two or more encoded data slices based on a subset of segment numbers.
13. The computing device of claim 9, wherein the processing module is further operable to determine whether to store the two or more encoded data slices in alternative memory by:
determining performance metrics of the alternative memory and the set of storage units, wherein the performance metrics include one or more of:
cost;
latency;
bandwidth;
available storage; and
historical performance.
14. The computing device of claim 9, wherein the processing module is further operable to:
receive a read request that includes one or more sets of encoded data slices of the plurality of sets of encoded data slices that includes the two or more encoded data slices;
determine a read weighting factor for the alternative memory; and
when the read weighting factor is favorable:
retrieve the combined slice object from the alternative memory; and
retrieve one or more subsets of encoded data slices of the one or more sets of encoded data slices from some storage units of the set of storage units.
15. The computing device of claim 14, wherein the processing module is further operable to:
when the read weighting factor is unfavorable:
retrieve a read threshold number of encoded data slices of the one or more sets of encoded data slices from the read threshold number of storage units of the set of storage units.
16. The computing device of claim 14, wherein the processing module is further operable to:
determine a second read weighting factor for the set of storage units;
compare the read weighting factor with the second read weighting factor; and
when the read weighting factor compares favorably to the second read weighting factor, indicate the read weighting factor is favorable.
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